Eureka is a TV show currently being shown on the SyFy channel. It’s unique plot line has made it my favorite show currently being aired. http://www.syfy.com/eureka/index.php I would recommend it for all ages, it is an entertaining, and educational, family oriented show. The show is about a city that was created by the US government to house all of the greatest thinkers of the day. You have rocket scientists, brain surgeons, quantum physicists, all the best minds inhabiting one city. You would think if there was one city that had all its problems handled it would be this one. Because it is filled with geniuses, they should be able to handle any problem that comes their way. The interesting thing is this… they actually create their own problems. Many times, an individual scientist goes “rogue” and botches up an experiment that causes problems for the entire city.
And there is a real life lesson that can be learned from all of this…If a group is not unified in their goal… they are not unified at all. How true this is in real life… and how true is it amongst many Christian groups today….
There is a clamoring for “unity” claiming the Bible teaches all Christian denominations (Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, Brethren, Presbyterian, etc.) should be unified in spite of doctrinal differences… this is called the “Ecumenical Movement”.
There is another movement called the “Interfaith Movement” that teaches that there should be unity between the different faiths of the world (Christian, Islam, Buddhist, Jewish, etc) to cooperate in promotion of better relations between each group. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecumenism
I would like to examine the Scriptures to see if that is really what the Bible teaches…. Should all religions unify in promoting spirituality, or, should all Christians unify in worship and service in the midst of doctrinal disagreements?
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (Joh 4:23-24)
Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Mat 15:7-9)
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Eph 4:11-16)
There can be no doubt that one of the main goals of Christ’s work on the cross was to create a unified body of believers; note these quotations…
“he should gather together in one” – Joh 11:51-53;
“that they also may be one in us… that they may be one, even as we are one…” Joh 17:20-23;
“for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross… Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” Eph 2:11-22)
Yes, undoubtedly, the Lord desires for His followers to be unified. The question isn’t “Should we all be unified?” The real question is “Can we unify without holding to the same set of beliefs?”
Our set of scripture references addresses this question. Note that our Lord gives the parameters for true, Godly worship to take place….
“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (Joh 4:23-24)
Here, He clearly states that a sincere spirit must be present with the truth of His Word for true worship to take place. This is a real troublesome passage for those who believe that all denominations or religions should overlook their differences for the sake of unity. The Lord clearly states that “the truth” must be sincerely held to for true worship to take place.
Let me give you two examples of truth versus error:
1. Is it true that the Bible states that salvation can be found in Christ alone? (Act 4:10-12)
If so, every religion that exists, apart from Christianity, is teaching error. Under this truth/error test can all religions gather and share in worship?
2. Is it true that the Bible teaches salvation is by grace and through faith and not by the works of man? (Eph 2:7-9)
Again, let me ask… if this is the case, what about all the Christian denominations that mix works with salvation? Can we all unite in the name of Christ and worship together when there is such great error being taught?
People are dying and going to hell by believing there is salvation in another besides Christ, or because they are relying on their good works to save themselves. How can we be united in the promotion of error? Folks, this should not be.
These are just two examples of many different MAJOR doctrinal issues that I could be presenting to outline the stark differences between the different religions and the different denominations. The issue is clear… when an important doctrine (one that salvation hinges) is disagreed upon, there can be no unity in worship.
What would happen if we tried to unite? Our second passage refers to this by stating….
“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. “ (Mat 15:7-9)
This Scripture speaks for itself. This is the end of all who choose to unite without a sincere belief in Biblical truth.
So what is the remedy for this? Everyone must accept the truth first, and then, unite for the cause of Christ. How do we do this? Here’s where our third Scripture reference comes in….
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph 4:11-16)
We are to learn from Godly men who are proclaiming the truths of His Word. As we learn we will come together in doctrinal unity, unified around the Word and not around the teachings of man. This is God’s way of unification. This is the type of unity that pleases our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The next obvious question is this… How can we know who is a teacher of truth and not a teacher of error?
We are to live like the Bereans…
“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. (Act 17:10-12)”
By searching the Scriptures in our own personal studies, to affirm what is taught to us by men, the Holy Spirit will lead us to teachers of the truth… This is our responsibility. To compare what our teachers are saying with what the Word says. This is the only way we can discern truth from error.
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
Any true Christian, when confronted with the truth of His Word, would choose to worship in “spirit and truth” as compared to worshipping the Lord in vain… this is the simple choice that is at hand for us all.
Will we take a stand for the truth and unite with other Bible believing and proclaiming Christians for the cause of Christ… or will we unite with all “religious people” and get unity for unity’s sake?? I’m afraid today, for the sake of numbers of followers, many are compromising the truth for the sake of acceptance and promotion among other groups. Shame on us. May the Lord be merciful to us as sinners.
If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at email@example.com. I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.
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May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”